Advanced analytics for operational PV plants

FuturENERGY September-October 2020

From the earliest days of the solar industry, asset owners have allocated few resources to the monitoring of PV plant operation. The apparent absence of actionable levers, regulated tariffs, as well as the supposed simplicity of achievable data and metrics has historically resulted in scant resources being set aside for an activity that is critical for the business and which of course is no trivial matter. The operational PV stock continues to grow worldwide, with a cumulative total of some 770 GW forecast for the end of 2020. In today’s ultra-competitive market, it is essential that the appropriate metrics and analytics are provided, in order to maximise asset generation and improve the return on investment.

The UL methodology is based on key steps, whose execution requires codes and tools that have been improved by UL over the years, to serve the global industry. Process automation is able to handle massive tasks which, without the appropriate codes, can become very complex where accurate outcomes are required.

1. Data processing: every SCADA variable, including data on irradiation, temperature, the inverters, trackers and energy meters, is algorithmically compiled and processed to detect and correct any possible influence that might have the slightest effect on data quality. These include data gaps, synchronisation issues or problems with the sensors, such as misalignment, obstruction or weather anomalies. This step is critical for outcome accuracy.